BBC News. Hello, this is Jerry Smit. India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi has Urged Hindus not together for a major religious festival as the country continues to register record numbers of coronavirus cases. Infections are at an all-time high for the third day running with 234,000 new cases. Electra Naysmith reports.India's Kumbh Mela lasts for weeks and attracts millions of Hindu devotees who descend on the banks of the river Ganges in Haridwar to bath in its holy waters.There already been several thousand confirmed COVID cases at the event. But it's feared actual numbers are much higher. The leader of one influential congregation has died of coronavirus. This criticism, the event was allowed to go ahead at all, but Mr. Modi stopped short of calling for it to end. Indians in the midst of elections are canceling this important Hindu event, would not play well with his supporters.
Thailand says the military leader of Myanmar Min Aung Hlaing will attend an emergency regional summit next week in Jakarta. The country's ousted civilian leaders are not expected to attend.Myanmar's neighbors have been leading international efforts to encourage dialogue between the military and their opponents. Here's Laura Bicker.The talks come as local advocacy groups within Myanmar report that at least 728 civilians have been killed.Daily protests calling for democracy to be restored have continued throughout a 5-day Buddhist new year holiday and despite a brutal crackdown by security forces.The ruling junta has released more than 23,000 prisoners as part of an annual amnesty. But so far, it's unclear whether any of the pro-democracy protesters or journalists detained over the last few months will be freed.
Eritrea has acknowledged for the first time that its troops are participating in the war in northern Ethiopia after months of denying involvement.They were deployed to support Ethiopia military operation against the region's former governing party, the TPLF. Our Africa regional editor Mary Harper reports.In a letter to the United Nations Security Council, Eritrea's ambassador to the UN Sophia Tesfamariam said Eritrea soldiers would be withdrawn from Tigray.She said she was appalled by what she described as that outrageous allegations that Eritrea forces had raped, killed and used hunger as a weapon of war. Ethiopia announced last month that the Eritreans would leave Tigray. The UN this week said there was no evidence of this and that the soldiers were continuing to carry out atrocities.
Police in Bangladesh have shot dead at least five workers demonstrating at a power plant in Chittagong. They've been protesting at the site for several days. The police say they were forced to open fire when the situation escalated. At least 12 other people have been injured.World news from the BBC.